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Can A-fib worsen if asthma is poorly controlled?
March 23, 2019
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an increasingly common diagnosis for patients >40 years of age. Treatment options vary from medications to surgical options. For most patients, it is simply too late for lifestyle changes such as weight loss and diet changes to be effective as the damage is already done.
A recent study out of Norway examined the relationship between asthma and AF. The study looked at a group of 54,000 adults that did NOT have AF initially. The authors then looked at a sub-group of patients that also had asthma. Over the following 15 years, 3.8% of the group developed AF. The authors found that patients with poorly controlled asthma were more likely to develop AF, compared to those without asthma. They also found that well controlled asthma was NOT a risk factor for developing AF.
It has been proposed that poorly controlled asthma increases inflammation in the body which leads to an increased heart rate and an increased risk of arrhythmias. The study did NOT show any link between asthma MEDICATIONS and the risk of AF.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: Well controlled asthma which in turn means less inflammation in the body has potential benefits beyond improved asthma symptoms and quality of life.
Cepelis et al. Associations of asthma and asthma control with atrial fibrillation risk: results from the Nord-Trondelage Health study. JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3:721-728.
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